Page:The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma (Birds Vol 1).djvu/98

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66 CORVID^. Geuus NUCIFRAGA Briss., 1760. The genus Nucifraga contains the Nutcrackers, birds of well- marked form and colour, two of which are found within Indian limits, inhabiting the higher part of the Himalayas where they are resident. In the Nutcrackers the plumage is more or less spotted with white; the bill is straight, pointed and about as long as the head; the nasal bristles are short and stiff and completely cover the nostrils; but the tail is short and very little rounded. A'c// to SjJecies. A. Rump and upper tail-coverts not marked with white N.caryocatacteshemispila,'^. 66. B. Rump and upper tail-coverts marked with white N. mnltipunctata, p. 67.

(46) Nucifraga caryocatactes hemispila.

The Himalayan Nutcracker.

Nucifraga hemispila Vigors, P. Z. S., 1830, p. 8 (Himalayas); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 41.

Vernacular names. Lho-lcariyo-plw (Lepcha).

Description. Narial bristles black and white; forehead, crown, nape, hind neck and upper tail-coverts chocolate-brown; with these exceptions the whole of the plumage is umber-brown, the sides of the head and neck streaked with white; chin and throat with a few small white shaft-streaks; the back, breast and upper abdomen with oval white drops; under tail-coverts pure white; wings glossy black, the lesser and median coverts with triangular white tips; a few of the inner primaries with a large oval white mark on the inner webs, probably disappearing with age, as it is absent in some birds; centr.'il tail-feathers black, the others broadly tipped white, the amount of white increasing outwardly. Some birds have the breast-spots pale rufescent instead of white, a feature which seems to have nothing to do with age.

Colours of soft parts. Legs and feet black; iris reddish brown to hazel or deep brown; bill brown with paler tips.

Measurements. Total length about 370 mm.; tail about 150 to 160 mm.; wing 205 to 225 mm., averaging about 210 or rather more; bill 40 to 45 mm.; tarsus about 40 ram. The young are pale brown, with rufescent drops everywhere instead of white. These, however, turn white at the first moult, when the head also acquires the white colour. This bird is merely a local race of the European Nutcracker, from which it differs in having a far darker head, the centre of the throat and neck unspotted with white and the outer tail- feathers almost entirely white instead of merely tipped with white.